ISIS Destroyed Hundreds of Boxes of American Chicken in Food-Starved Syria

Images have emerged online that purportedly depict members of the Islamic State destroying hundreds of boxes of US-produced chicken legs intended for civilians.

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Apr 3 2015, 5:13pm

Photos via Mdwn.me

Images have emerged online that purportedly depict members of the Islamic State—also known as ISIS, ISIL, or IS—destroying hundreds of boxes of food intended for civilians.

Released by Halab, or "the information office of the mandate of Aleppo," the pictures feature boxes of chicken leg quarters produced by Illinois-based Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry producers in the United States.

READ MORE: ISIS Is Rebranding Stolen UN Food Rations with Its Own Logo
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The boxes are labeled as halal, and say that the chicken was "slaughtered according to Islamic rules." The text on the images, however, notes that the chickens were destroyed because they were slaughtered "illegally." According to The Independent, the boxes were part of a shipment of vegetables, fruit, and chicken intended for civilians that was stopped by IS security forces at a checkpoint outside Aleppo.

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The images were posted Wednesday to Twitter and to Mdwn.me, a file-sharing site known to be used by the Islamic State to disseminate photographs and videos. While the images have not yet been verified, they do bear the same graphics and branding featured in previous IS propaganda.

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The photos show hundreds of boxes of Koch-branded chicken being hurled into a ditch before being set on fire. In one photograph, a man bearing an IS-branded jacket emblazoned with the word "al-Hisbah"—referring to IS's religious police force—stands in front of a towering pile of burning chicken. The images were allegedly captured in Akhtarin, a town located northeast of Aleppo in Syria.

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It is possible that the chicken was deemed haram, or un-halal, because of how the chickens were slaughtered. While many meat producers in the West use mechanized slaughtering methods, some Muslims believe that anything but hand-slaughtering is not truly halal. In 2012, members of SunniForum.com expressed concern that Koch chicken might not be halal because it was machine-cut, rather than being butchered by hand. (Koch Foods did not respond to a request for comment.)

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The bitter irony, of course, is that Syria is in the midst of a massive food crisis, thanks to years of civil war, civilian displacement, and IS-related fighting.

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This latest stunt follows another well-publicized episode in February, when IS members reportedly rebranded stolen boxes of food rations from the World Food Program and Syrian Red Crescent as their own. The United Nations estimates that 9.8 million Syrians are or are at risk of becoming food insecure.

Burning boxes of chicken—halal or not—certainly doesn't help that.